TICK CONTROL SERVICES
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HOW TO KEEP TICKS OUT OF YOUR YARD
Ticks may be small but they sure are mighty. Parasites to humans and pets alike, ticks can be hard to find and even harder to remove. After a long hike or a day playing in the yard, it’s best to know how to spot a tick, what the possible health risks are if you have one on you or your pet, and how to remove one safely and correctly. Learning more about the best ways to control a tick infestation will also help you keep your mind at ease during spring and summer outdoor days.
What are ticks?
Ticks are blood-sucking parasites that feed off of human and animal blood. Their feeding process can also spread microorganisms that cause disease from host to host. Deer ticks, also called blacklegged ticks, are among the smallest of the tick family with a size between 1–4 mm, while dog ticks are larger (up to 6 mm) and much easier to spot by their white markings on their backs. Like the name suggests, this type is commonly found in a dog’s fur. In addition to carrying many different viruses and bacteria, deer ticks can also spread Lyme Disease.
What do ticks look like?
Given that ticks are arachnids (like spiders), ticks have a similar body shape and eight legs. However, their head and abdomen are connected, unlike spiders.
Their colors span from black to brown to reddish brown, depending on the species. This coloring makes them easier to spot on light-colored pets. The most common types of ticks vary depending on where you live. In the United States, dog ticks and deer ticks are mentioned most often. Dog ticks can have white markings on their backs. Deer ticks, on the other hand, have longer mouth parts and smoother backs.
How long do ticks live?
Ticks can live anywhere between 3 months and 3 years, depending on the species. A tick can feed on its host for 3 to 10 days. Some ticks can live up to 2 years before they need to feed again.
Where do ticks live?
Ticks love ground-dwelling plants, especially long, tall grasses and bushes because they offer shade and are often moist. Ticks can’t run or jump, so they typically hang out on plants that give them closer access to a potential host.
Dog ticks are often found in the midwest and on Pacific coast in the U.S. They are most active during spring and summer. Female dog ticks are the most likely to bite. Deer ticks often live on the east coast of the U.S. and are most active in spring, summer, and fall seasons.
How do I check for ticks?
Self-checking is key for disease prevention and keeping your family safe. Some easy tips to remember when checking for ticks are:
- Wash and inspect any outdoor clothes and gear as soon as possible to see if any ticks have latched on
- Wash it on high heat to kill any ticks that may have escaped your preliminary inspection
- Take a bath or shower as soon as you get home to check yourself—kids may need extra help with this
- Common areas to check include belly buttons, ears, hair, behind the knees, around the waist, and between the legs
- Check your pets for any signs of ticks
- Keep in mind that if your pet has been treated with any medication for fleas and ticks, the tick might be on your pet without having fully latched, which means it could jump and latch onto you while you’re checking your pet
- Keep checking your pets and yourself for ticks a couple days after a big hike or time spent outside
- Ticks grow in size as they feed and become easier to see as they get bigger and fatter
What does a tick bite look like?
Tick bites aren’t very distinct; you’ll probably find the tick instead of only its bite. Once the tick is removed, the bite may get red and scab.
While itching and scratching are the most basic symptoms of a tick bite, some others include:
- Chills or fever
- Rashes (can also be a bulls-eye if Lyme Disease)
- Skin ulcers
How do I avoid tick bites?
While it may seem like ticks are everywhere during warmer times of the year, this is not entirely the case. They are avoidable if you know where they typically hang out and if you stay ahead of infection. Some prevention options you can consider if you plan to be enjoying the great outdoors include:
- Using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellents (great options include DEET or lemon eucalyptus oil).
- Avoid walking in or near tall grasses
- Wear long pants, long shirts, and tall socks when hiking or playing outside
What diseases can ticks transmit?
Even if a tick is a carrier of a disease, there is only a 50% chance or less that it will infect you with its bite, depending especially on the type of tick, the region you live, and the length of time of its latch.
Ticks may carry diseases such as (see the CDC for a more exhaustive list): :
- Lyme Disease
- Colorado tick fever
- Powassan Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
Best tick control options for yards
It may seem impossible to keep ticks out of your yard, but Hawx Pest Control can provide options for getting rid of tick infestations and helping to prevent them from coming back.
Between the prevention tips we’ve shared, along with Hawx’s professional treatments for your yard, there’s less reason to worry about unwanted hitchhikers.
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